11.13.14

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Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)

MEDIA that is owned by large corporations likes to talk about FOSS bugs that have logos and brands not because there are many known incidents where harm was done but because FOSS is an easy scapegoat. Microsoft Windows, which has had bug doors for nearly two decades (very serious and remotely exploitable), should not be used on any production environment, but some businesses are evidently foolish enough to put it on critical systems, knowing damn well (they definitely should know it by now) that the NSA collaborates with Microsoft on back doors access and uses back doors for espionage (both industrial and political).

Earlier this year we asked journalists to call out Windows and urged Home Depot to speak about the role of Microsoft Windows in its massive (existence-threatening) incident that left millions of people (with credit card details) in the hands of crackers.

Microsoft Windows — not some FOSS bug with a logo and/or a name — punished not only Home Depot but also millions of innocent customers who did not know that Home Depot relied on Microsoft Windows for storing/processing sensitive details.

“Microsoft Windows — not some FOSS bug with a logo and/or a name — punished not only Home Depot but also millions of innocent customers who did not know that Home Depot relied on Microsoft Windows for storing/processing sensitive details.”Now there is acknowledgement of this, based on the report “Home Depot blames Windows for record hack, rushes out to buy Macs and iPhones afterward”. So basically they are moving to another proprietary platform with back doors. Apple has already admitted the existence of back doors in iOS, for example, and tried to pass them off as “diagnostics”. If Home Depot is serious about security, then GNU/Linux and other Free software (even BSD) should be universally used at Home Depot.

Home Depot should generally cleanse itself of proprietary software, which is totally unsuitable for credit cards handling because it has back doors and other security issues, mostly inherent issues. Other companies should learn from Home Depot’s mistake and never again process important data using proprietary software. The bad reputation that Home Depot gets from this incident is now putting the whole business in jeopardy and based on news reports about surveillance software Skype (after the Microsoft takeover), Microsoft wants to put it at the very heart of businesses, enabling wiretapping of unprecedented proportions, even inside private businesses (not some mundane chats). Only days ago the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that Skype is inherently insecure and so is WhatsApp, which is owned by a partly Microsoft-owned company (Facebook). Here is what Beta News wrote:

Secure communication is something we all crave online, particularly after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations increased public interest in privacy and security. With dozens of messaging tools to choose from, many claiming to be ultra-secure, it can be difficult to know which one to choose and which one to trust. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published its Secure Messaging Scorecard which rates a number of apps and services according to the level of security they offer.

Businesses should shun not only Microsoft but proprietary software in general (Microsoft tends to be one of the worst among them) if they wish to secure their communications, respect their customers’ safety, and ultimately assure their survival. Use of proprietary software is no joking matter; it can be lethal. The corporate press has hardly done enough — if anything at all — to highlight the real culprit in the Home Depot disaster.

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